Leader perspective: Resilience drives readiness in times of adversity
Command Sgt. Maj. Chantel Sena-Diaz is the command sergeant major for the Mission and Installation Contracting Command headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas. The MICC, a subordinate command to the U.S. Army Contracting Command, provides Army commands, installations and activities with responsive contracting solutions and oversight. On order, it provides trained and deployable contracting personnel to the operating force. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 17, 2020) -- As we celebrate what is typically one of the most joyous times of the year, the coronavirus has forced all of us across the Army and nation to endure a number of challenges both at work and home that has truly tested our physical, emotional, social, spiritual and family resilience.

There’s no question this has been a hard year. It has required us to find new and creative ways to stay connected and accomplish our mission, as well as preserve our close ties with family and loved ones. Each year, the holidays pose a particularly difficult time for many coping with depression or facing a variety of struggles. When combined with restrictions placed upon us individually and as a society in response to the pandemic, it’s even more problematic.

While many of us take this time to re-energize at home, we’re finding it harder to do that as telework sometimes allows the demands of work to linger just in the next room, which can lead to burnout or increased stress. Personal resilience and recognizing the signs and symptoms of at-risk behavior is critically important now more than ever. If you or someone you know needs help or just a little encouragement, don’t hesitate to reach out to someone or seek assistance.

Through even seemingly small efforts such as a phone call, a text or virtual message on Microsoft Teams, we express to our teammates that we care and their well-being is priority. Take the time to discuss more than work so they understand they are a valued part of a larger whole. Perhaps they have an extended family member dealing with complications of COVID-19, or maybe their household has been affected by the loss of employment due to restrictions from the virus. We have been asked by our Army Materiel Command leadership to develop a plan to stay in touch with the workforce throughout this holiday season. It’s incumbent upon our leaders that a plan is in place and executed during this challenging time. I know we ask a lot of leaders, but caring for and investing in the welfare of our people is paramount.

Maintaining a fitness regimen can help improve your mood and reduce anxiety, and introduce a healthier means for managing stress. The seasons are changing, so our exercise routines may now be constrained by time and weather. While an entire component of marketing and advertising is dedicated to capitalizing on New Year resolutions of better health and diet, one of the simplest steps you can take is to find a workout partner to help keep you accountable; which can also have a positive impact on our emotional health.

Sustaining healthy behaviors is essential not only for maintaining physical well-being but also psychological health. Social support and stimulation through healthy relationships builds within us a sense of purpose and the strength to navigate through times of adversity. One thing I’ve taken away from all of this is that I’ve built a stronger community with my neighbors through intentional interaction. Whether through creative interactive themes or merely helping each other out with children or dogs, I’ve found that by developing a more meaningful relationship within my own community has allowed my personal strength to flourish. I encourage you to search for a helpful takeaway through this adversity.

Your contracting and support efforts have allowed the Mission and Installation Contracting Command to accomplish phenomenal undertakings for our mission partners and the nation this past year, from a virtual environment that is new to most of us. We’ve welcomed a lot of new people and have sadly said farewell to some without the opportunity to properly honor their contributions to this command and the Army. While recognition of their efforts may not be widely seen, it’s imperative that leaders and supervisors continue to find creative ways to ensure that their faithful service is honored.

We have an incredible team at the MICC. I really miss the people and the meaningful interactions, and I look forward to everyone returning to the office as local and garrison orders permit. It won’t be without some fear. I and the command team have heard your concerns about reoccupying the workplace and are paying careful attention to the hardships involved. Bear in mind, resilience drives readiness, and keeping people as our No. 1 priority will allow us to safely come back together in support of Soldiers and their families.

About the MICC:

Headquartered at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the Mission and Installation Contracting Command consists of about 1,500 military and civilian members who are responsible for contracting goods and services in support of Soldiers as well as readying trained contracting units for the operating force and contingency environment when called upon. As part of its mission, MICC contracts are vital in feeding more than 200,000 Soldiers every day, providing many daily base operations support services at installations, facilitate training in the preparation of more than 100,000 conventional force members annually, training more than 500,000 students each year, and maintaining more than 14.4 million acres of land and 170,000 structures.